The Krekorian Talent Scam Prevention Act made headlines in the United States this week when multiple casting studios and directors were charged under the act, for unfairly exploiting payment from actors for auditions.
Unfortunately this is not exclusive to our American counterparts and must also be highlighted to professionals in the Irish industry.
Irish Equity represents actors, theatre directors, stage and set designers in Ireland and is part of the Services Industrial Professional & Technical Union.
As a leading resource for Irish actors and other creatives in the film and television industry, we at IFTN fully support the call to action by Irish Equity for Irish performers to report similar activity in our own industry.
It is particularly important to highlight the issue at this time of year, when pilot season is upon us and actors find themselves called to a high number of auditions.
In reporting these incidents we can eliminate the unfair practices where performers, often without a steady or sizable income, are taken advantage of. This should also be recognised as a collective responsibility and not fall upon actors alone.
IFTN: What is the “Pay to Play” scam, in simple terms, and why do Irish actors need to be aware of it?
“Pay to Play is an exploitative practice in the performance industry both live and audio visual. It is where casting directors attach themselves to schools, or workshops or an agency that puts them up for jobs. They charge actors for attending the school or workshop, on the basis that paying the fee to be in the agency or attending the workshop means they will be called for auditions, which is untrue.
“This is effectively charging actors to access auditions. Most actors are not persons of means and they survive is a very tough industry holding tight to their dreams and aspirations. This practice has now been made illegal in the USA and should be made illegal here too.”
IFTN: How can an actor recognise if he or she is being treated unfairly?
“If you are paying casting directors for workshops or paying an agency (as opposed to an agent or co-op) for workshops, this is a conflict of interest for the director and the agency and needs to be called out as Pay to Play.”
IFTN: What options available to professionals who feel they have been exploited by this kind of behaviour?
“All professional actors in this country should be card carrying members of Irish Equity and should report all Pay to Play situations and other scams through the website. If we don’t get the reports it is hard to deal with the problem.”
IFTN: What will the role of Equity be in preventing this industry practice, going forward?
“We intend to lobby for legislation to prevent this exploitation and to call it out every time we find it.”
Contact Irish Equity